WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero 29-4 (20) says he holds no fear of WBA and IBF champion Naoya ‘The Monster’ Inoue 19-0 (16) ahead of their clash at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 25.
The 30-year-old Filipino knocked out reigning champion Zolani Tete 28-4 (21) in three rounds in November to claim the WBO belt.
Inoue had a breakout year in 2019, winning the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) and has since signed a co-promotional deal with American powerhouse Top Rank.
The fight will be a step up in competition for Casimero, but one he says he is ready for.
“I don’t fear him,” Casimero said to ESPN. “Anyone in my weight division, I’m open to fighting because I think I’m the strongest fighter at 118.”
Casimero says the game plan to defeat the powerful Inoue will be different to the one they brought to the table for the Tete fight.
“Against Inoue, we’re still in the process of forming our game plan. We prepared really hard for the fight against Tete but that game plan was just for him,” Casimero said during a press conference in Manila on Wednesday afternoon.
“The training we had, we looked for ways and angles to hit him. We figured out what his style was and we trained for it.”
Inoue had a harder than expected fight against Filipino veteran Nonito Donaire 40-6 (26) in the final of the WBSS in November, eventually winning a competitive unanimous decision.
MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons says Inoue is biting off more than he can chew with Casimero.
“Donaire was a great fighter before but he’s already 37 years old. Casimero is in his prime and so is Inoue, which makes this a really good fight,” he said.
“I don’t think he (Inoue) realizes what he’s getting into. He picked the wrong Filipino to fight. Casimero is coming to get the titles.”